eBossWatch http://blog.ebosswatch.com A leading resource for evaluating potential employers Wed, 12 Aug 2015 17:25:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.4.10 Lion-hunting dentist Walter Palmer accused of sexually harassing former employee http://blog.ebosswatch.com/2015/07/lion-hunting-dentist-walter-palmer-accused-of-sexually-harassing-former-employee/ Thu, 30 Jul 2015 04:42:23 +0000 http://blog.ebosswatch.com/?p=17613 Minnesota dentist Dr. Walter Palmer, who is being widely criticized in the news media and on social media platforms for killing a famed lion named Cecil during a recent hunting trip in Zimbabwe, was accused of sexual harassment in 2005 by a female former receptionist.

Palmer’s insurance company agreed to pay $127,500 to the employee to settle her sexual harassment complaint in December 2006. Palmer, who is the owner of River Bluff Dental in Bloomington, MN, did not admit any wrongdoing in the sexual harassment complaint settlement.

The employee, who worked for Dr. Walter Palmer from July 1999 to January 2005, complained to the Minnesota Department of Human Rights that she was “subjected to ongoing and unwelcome sexual harassment by [Palmer] including, but not limited to, verbal comments and physical conduct involving her breasts, buttocks, and genitalia.”

The employee claims that she “informed [Palmer] and her supervisor that she wanted [Palmer’s] behavior to stop, but [Palmer] failed to cease his harassing conduct.”

The employee claims that Palmer fired her in retaliation for complaining about Palmer’s alleged sexual harassment.

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American Apparel describes multiple sexual harassment and assault accusations against former CEO Dov Charney http://blog.ebosswatch.com/2015/07/american-apparel-describes-multiple-sexual-harassment-and-assault-accusations-against-former-ceo-dov-charney/ Fri, 17 Jul 2015 04:25:03 +0000 http://blog.ebosswatch.com/?p=17582 American Apparel submitted a declaration in court last month that accuses former CEO Dov Charney of sexually harassing and assaulting multiple company employees and models and describes these accusations in graphic detail.

This declaration, which was filed on June 19, 2015 by American Apparel board chairperson Colleen Birdnow Brown, is the company’s response to a defamation lawsuit that Charney filed against the company. The following is a copy of Brown’s declaration:

I, Colleen Birdnow Brown, hereby declare and state as follows:

1. I am the Chairperson of the Board of Directors of American Apparel, Inc. (“American Apparel” or the “Company”) and have held that position since December 2014. I have sat on the Company’s Board of Directors (the “Board”) since August 2014. I was a member of the Company’s Suitability Committee (as discussed in detail below) and I also sit on the Company’s Nominating Committee and Corporate Governance Committee (which I previously chaired) and its Audit Committee. In addition to serving as the Chairperson of the Board of American Apparel, I am a board member of TrueBlue, Inc. and serve on that company’s nominating and corporate governance committee, as well as its compensation and technology committees. From 2005 through approximately August of 2013, I was a Director, President and Chief Executive Officer of Fisher Communications, Inc. Fisher Communications, Inc. was a leading provider of ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX affiliated television stations, radio stations and interactive networks. I have personal knowledge of the facts set forth below, and if called as a witness, I would and could testify competently thereto.

2. In my capacity as a Director of American Apparel and a member of the Audit Committee and the Suitability Committee, I have reviewed documents related to the investigation I of Plaintiff Dov Charney (“Charney”). I have reviewed and am familiar with minutes of Board meetings that occurred prior to my appointment. These minutes were taken in the ordinary course and scope of the meetings of the Board and its committees, were made at or near the time of the meetings re?ected therein, and are maintained in the records kept by the Board.

3. Based upon my review of the minutes of Board meetings, I understand that, in the spring of 2014, the Company’s Audit Committee launched an investigation into alleged misconduct by Mr. Charney. During the investigation, the facts uncovered by the Audit Committee concerning Mr. Charney led the Company’s independent directors to recommend that, interim action be taken against him before the investigation was completed.

4. Based upon my review of the minutes of the meeting of the Board that took place on June 18, 2014, I am aware that the independent directors of the Company presented Mr. Charney with two options: remain on as a paid consultant for the Company without any supervisory or financial authority, or be suspended pending completion of the ongoing investigation. When Mr. Charney and the Board were not able to reach an agreement regarding either option, the Board unanimously voted to suspend Mr. Charney pending completion of the investigation. I understand that the Board offered Mr. Charney a consulting role with American Apparel in the hopes of ensuring Mr. Charney’s departure from the Company would be smooth and uneventful.

5. Mr. Charney’s suspension was effective as of June 18, 2014, and formalized in a letter (the “Suspension Letter“), a true and correct copy of which is attached hereto as Exhibit A. The Suspension Letter identifed certain misconduct by Mr. Charney, including, but not limited to, the following:

(a) Mr. Charney was “aware of, but took no steps to prevent an employee under [his] direct supervision and control from creating and maintaining false, defamatory and impersonating blog posts about former American Apparel employees”;

(b) Mr. Charney “presented significant severance packages to numerous former employees,” (paid for by the Company itself and not Mr. Charney) in order to ensure that Mr. Charney’s “misconduct vis-a-vis these employees would not subject [him] to personal liability”;

(c) Mr. Charney “repeatedly engaged in conduct that violated the Company’s sexual harassment and anti-discrimination policy,” and “engaged in conduct that repeatedly put [himself] in a position to be sued by numerous former employees for claims that include harassment, discrimination and assault”;

(d) Mr. Charney “made derogatory and disparaging cements directed at persons of certain ethnicities or related to their gender, sexual orientation or religious persuasion that [were] discriminatory and offensive and . . . not in accordance with Company policies”; and

(e) Mr. Charney “used corporate assets in an inappropriate manner and for personal, non-business reasons without approval of the Board.”

The Audit Committee?s independent counsel, Jones Day (which never served as outside general counsel to the Company), retained FTI Consulting, Inc. to assist in the investigation into Mr. Charney’s alleged wrongdoing.

6. Based upon my review of documents maintained by the Board, I am aware that on or about July 9, 2014, Mr. Charney resigned as a director of the Company pursuant to an agreement among Mr. Charney, the Company, and Standard General LP. (and affiliated funds) (the “Standstill Agreement”). A true and correct copy of the Standstill Agreement is attached hereto as Exhibit B. Pursuant to that agreement, to which Mr. Charney was a party, a “Suitability Committee” of the Board, which was ultimately composed of myself and two other independent directors, assumed oversight and control of the ongoing investigation into Mr. Charney’s conduct that was being conducted by FTI.

7. On December 15, 2014, I attended a meeting at which the Suitability Committee voted unanimously that Mr. Charney was not suitable to return to the Company as CEO or serve as an officer or employee of the Company, and the Board voted that Mr. Charney should be terminated for cause. The Suitability Committee met several times between August 2014 and December 2014 for the purpose of reviewing the extensive evidence uncovered during the course of the investigation and considering whether Mr. Charney was fit to return to the Company. Pursuant to the terms of the Standstill Agreement, the Suitability Committee also invited Mr. Charney and his counsel to attend a preliminary meeting on September 29, 2014, at which time the Suitability Committee, Jones Day, and FTI reviewed with Mr. Charney and his counsel the evidence that had then been collected. The evidence reviewed therein was subsequently made available for Mr. Charney and his counsel to review further.

8. The evidence collected in the investigation concerned a number of topics including Mr. Charney’s involvement in the “Impersonation Blogs” described below, and the resulting litigation; Mr. Charney’s sexual liaisons with employees and models, and the resulting litigation; Mr. Charney’s verbal abuses and physical assaults on employees, and the resulting litigation; Mr. Charney’s use of Company funds to pay personal legal fees; Mr. Charney’s receipt of loans and advances without prior approval; and Mr. Charney’s practice of removing or directing the removal of cash from American Apparel retail stores without documenting the business use of such funds. In short, the evidence (which was voluminous) corroborated the key allegations of misconduct asserted against Mr. Charney in the Suspension Letter and revealed an abundance of newly discovered employee abuse and sexual and ?nancial misdeeds.

The “Impersonation Blogs”

9. As alleged in several legal proceedings against the Company, Mr. Charney encouraged American Apparel employee Kyung Chung to create internet blogs in the names of former Company employees and models. These blogs were created in an effort to retaliate against women who made accusations against Mr. Charney. The blogs purported to include statements from employees regarding their sexual harassment claims against the Company that made it look like the sexual harassment suits were baseless and extortionate. Additionally, the blogs featured nude or semi-nude photographs of the women being impersonated on the blogs’ photos obtained from Mr. Charney’s devices. Several of these blogs resulted in legal proceedings against the Company. In one such action, Mr. Charney provided testimony expressing his approval of the blogs. The Suitability Committee reviewed transcripts of Mr. Charney’s testimony in which he stated that he was “proud” of Ms. Chung for creating the Impersonation Blogs, noting “I am proud of [Chung]. Let’s be clear. Proud.” When asked why he failed to discipline Ms. Chung, Mr. Charney said that she “made an effort to protect my honor. The word discipline is not in the realm. What’s in the realm is a hug and a thank you.” The Impersonation Blogs resulted in multi-million dollar settlements and awards paid by the Company. The Impersonation Blogs that involved at least four former employees/models: Kimbra Lo, Tesa Lubans DeHaven, Irene Morales and Alyssa Ferguson. Each of these individuals brought claims against Mr. Charney, Ms. Chung and the Company.

10. Kimbra Lo was an employee of the Company and also worked as a model. The Kimbra Lo Impersonation Blog, which featured nude photographs of Ms. Lo, was created in an attempt to retaliate against Ms. Lo for reporting Mr. Charney’s inappropriate behavior including, but not limited to, Mr. Charney’s sexual assault of Ms. Lo. Incredibly, this was done even though Ms. L0 had contacted the police, and informed them (as later recorded in a police report) that Mr. Charney sexually assaulted her. The assault occurred after she had left the Company and Mr. Charney summoned her to his residence to discuss her return to the Company. Ms. Lo described the assault in a detailed report filed with the Los Angeles Police Department.

11. Kimbra Lo pursued claims in an arbitration proceeding against Mr. Charney, Ms. Chung and the Company, L0 v. American Apparel, Inc., JAMS Case No. 1220042475, Los Angeles Superior Court Case No. BC457920. As a result of the potential exposure to the Company, the case settled prior to the arbitration hearing for a confidential amount.

12. Tesa Lubans-DeHaven was a former employee of the Company who initiated a sexual harassment suit against Mr. Charney and the Company. Following the filing of that lawsuit, Ms. Chung created an Impersonation Blog, which featured suggestive pictures of Ms. Lubans-DeHaven. Additionally, it set forth comments suggesting that Ms. Lubans-DeHaven’s lawsuit was without merit. Ms. Lubans-DeHaven made claims regarding the Impersonation Blog in the arbitration proceeding commenced in April 2014, Lubans-DeHaven v. American Apparel, Inc., JAMS Case No. 1220043539, Los Angeles Superior Court Case No. BC457920. As a result of the potential exposure to the Company, the case was settled by the Company’s insurance carrier prior to the arbitration hearing for a confidential amount.

13. Irene Morales’s initial sexual harassment lawsuit received widespread media coverage. She alleged that Mr. Charney began sexually harassing her when she was 17 and that Mr. Charney kept her locked in his apartment and forced her to have sex with him under threat of being fired. Following the filing of Ms. Morales’s lawsuit, Ms. Chung created an Impersonation Blog that included false statements suggesting that Ms. Morales’s lawsuit was meritless and extortionate. The blog featured nude or semi-nude photographs of Ms. Morales.

14. Ms. Morales pursued claims in an arbitration proceeding against Ms. Chung, Mr. Charney and the Company, Morales v. American Apparel, Inc. JAMS Case No. 1220042473, New York Supreme Court, County of Kings Index Nos. 5018/2011 and 5122/2011 for, among other things, creation of the Impersonation Blogs. An arbitration hearing was held and the arbitrator found that Ms. Chung and the Company were liable because Ms. Chung’s Impersonation Blogs contained false statements of fact and were created with actual malice. As a result, the arbitrator found that Ms. Chung violated California Penal Code Section 528.5, and was liable for that violation as well as for defamation, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The arbitrator found that the Company was vicariously liable for Ms. Chung’s actions in creating the Morales Impersonation Blog based largely on Mr. Charney’s testimony that he approved of and appreciated Ms. Chung’s actions. The arbitrator also found that the Company had ratified Ms. Chung’s conduct based on Charney’s prior knowledge of the blogs and failure to stop Ms. Chung. The arbitrator awarded Ms. Morales $1,559,159.87.

15. Alyssa Ferguson began as an employee in one of the Company’s retail stores and was later recruited by Ms. Chung to do modeling work. While working as a model, Ms. Ferguson alleged that Ms. Chung asked her to pose nude and “do raunchy things” with mannequins during a photo shoot. Following that photo shoot, she claimed that she was sexually assaulted by Mr. Charney while staying at Ms. Chung’s loft. Ms. Ferguson’s allegations are set forth in a chilling report that was filed with the Los Angeles Police Department.

16. Following Ms. Ferguson’s filing of a sexual harassment lawsuit against Mr. Charney, Ms. Chung created an Impersonation Blog that included false statements suggesting that Ms. Ferguson’s lawsuit was meritless and extortionate. The blog featured nude or semi-nude photographs of Ms. Ferguson.

17. Ms. Ferguson ultimately made claims against Ms. Chung, Mr. Charney and the Company related to the Impersonation Blog in an arbitration proceeding, Ferguson v. American Apparel, Inc., JAMS Case No. 1220042480, Los Angeles Superior Court Case No. BC457920. A hearing was held and the arbitrator determined that Ms. Chung violated California Penal Code Section 528.5 by “knowingly creating” blog posts impersonating Ms. Ferguson for a “harmful purpose” and “at a minimum” to intimidate Ms. Ferguson. The arbitrator also found that Ms. Chung was liable for defamation and invasion of privacy. The arbitrator also found that Mr. Charney and the Company ratified Ms. Chung’s conduct based on Mr. Charney’s knowledge that Ms. Chung was working on the Impersonation Blogs and his failure to do anything about it. The arbitrator awarded Ms. Ferguson $1,819,178.89.

Sexual Liaisons

18. The Company discovered voluminous evidence of Mr. Charney’s sexual liaisons with employees and models. This evidence included explicit emails, text messages, videos and still photographs. These materials were all recovered from Company computers and/or devices, and there is evidence that Company devices were used to (1) send illicit emails and text messages, (2) take illicit photographs, and (3) record illicit videos.

19. These emails and text messages reveal that Mr. Charney repeatedly sent illicit messages to employees. He sent messages that included pornographic videos (or links thereto), pornographic photographs and other nude pictures. Additionally, he frequently engaged in inappropriate sexual banter, infantilizing women and referring to himself as “Daddy.” Some examples of the many illicit email and text messages sent by Mr. Charney to employees included in the evidence reviewed by the Suitability Committee include the following:

  • “Your ass in that photo is the perfect cum target!”
  • “Jack off fun for a bad daddy”
  • “Daddy is so excited to play with the most little tiny blonde cum kitten in the whole school”
  • “Should I unload my cock now??? Like a filthy pig?”
  • “The feeling of your spit dripping down my ass crack would drive me crazy”
  • “I fucking need a phone fuck”
  • “I am jerking my dick for you and telling you how awful and disgusting I am”
  • “I like the idea of pulling your hair and fucking the shit out of you as I ride your body like you were a perfect blond pony”
  • “I want baby girl droooool all over my cock”

20. The Company also discovered videos and photographs of Mr. Charney engaged in all manner of sexual behavior with numerous models and employees, which for some incredible reason had been saved by Mr. Charney to the Company’s network server by him with the use of his Company computer. For example, the evidence included videos and images of a model orally copulating Mr. Charney’s penis, testicles and anus during a photo shoot; images of another model orally copulating Mr. Charney’s penis, testicles and anus and engaging in sexual intercourse with Mr. Charney; images and videos of another model engaging in mutual masturbation with Mr. Charney, orally copulating Mr. Charney’s penis and engaging in sexual intercourse with Mr. Charney; and images and video of another model engaging in mutual masturbation with Mr. Charney and orally copulating his penis. At least one of these encounters appears, based on the pictures and videos, to have taken place in Mr. Charney’s office at the Company’s headquarters.

21. The Suitability Committee reviewed evidence that Mr. Charney attempted to destroy evidence of his sexual liaisons, sending emails to employees asking them to “delete naughty emails!”

22. The Company, as a result of Mr. Charney’s sexual liaisons, incurred $8.2 million in insured litigation costs and $1.2 million in uninsured litigation costs through September 2014.

Verbal and Physical Abuse

23. In addition to his sexual harassment and abuse, Mr. Charney also engaged in verbal and physical abuse of employees and others that resulted in litigation. Numerous pleadings have been filed by employees alleging verbal and physical abuse. The pleadings described below, as is the case with the sexual liaisons described above, represent only a small sampling of this verbal and physical abuse.

24. Former American Apparel employee eneleen Floyd initiated litigation alleging that Mr. Charney stormed into her office screaming and yelling and threatened repeatedly to “kick her ass.” Ms. Floyd alleged that she was “so terrorized by [Mr. Charney’s] verbal and physical threats that she believed that she was in imminent harm of being physically struck and harmed.”

25. Former American Apparel employee Laura Barry initiated litigation alleging that Mr. Charney berated her and “became increasingly threatening and violent.” She alleged that Mr. Charney called her a “fucking moron,” and asked whether she “fucking graduated from high school.” Ms. Barry also alleged that Mr. Charney “stood inches from [her] and mimed holding a shotgun to her forehead, cocking the shotgun and pulling the trigger.” Ms. Barry alleged that this made her fear for her life.

26. . Former American Apparel employee Michael Bumblis, who managed the Malibu retail store, initiated litigation alleging that Mr. Charney berated him for the store’s poor performance, screaming, “You should have been fucking fired months ago . . . You’re a fucking Jew! You should know, you are a fucking long haired wanna be Jew. Get your fucking shit together fag.” Mr. Bumblis alleged that Mr. Charney went on to say, “Where is your fucking creativity? Get some fucking girls in bikinis to stand on PCH and have them waive a fucking American flag. Are you a fag?” Mr. Bumblis further alleged that after this exchange Mr. Charney “dove at [him], grabbed [his] throat with both hands and began to forcibly squeeze [his] throat in an attempt to choke and strangle [him].”  After choking him, Mr. Charney “proceeded to scoop up the dirt and forcibly attempt to rub the dirt on [Mr. Bumblis’s] face.”

27. Employees at the Company’s La Mirada facility lodged complaints after a meeting attended by Mr. Charney with the manufacturing accounting department. Mr. Charney began the meeting by shouting at the accounting staff, “you’re all fucking me.” Mr. Charney then verbally abused Filipino employees calling them “Filipino pigs . . . with your faces in the trough,” and telling them he would be their “[Ferdinand] Marcos. I will tell you what to do.” Mr. Charney repeatedly referred to the Filipino employees as “Filipino pigs” and threatened to fire them.

28. A female employee sent an email to Mr. Charney complaining about the work environment at American Apparel and about Mr. Charney’s conduct in particular. In that email, the employee states, “First, don’t ever, ever hit or slap me in the face again. Don’t call me a slut, whore, slave or bitch. Don’t call me stupid.” The employee also laments what she believes to be perception of female employees at American Apparel: “[T]o be associated with American Apparel, especially as a woman, was once a bit of a status symbol–something to be proud of. Now it means you’re a whore. . . . People think we’re a bunch of empty ‘sluts’ because a man we call our ‘daddy’ [Mr. Charney] has to cum all over our faces 5 times a day.”

29. A female employee sent an email describing an incident in which Mr. Charney grabbed her hand and placed it on another woman’s breast on the factory floor as workers passed by. The employee states that she pulled her hand away and told Mr. Charney to stop, but Mr. Charney “just laughed.” The employee stated in her email, “I’m confused and scared[.] Dov has always said I was a dumb Mexican. Maybe I am??” The employee also states that she was concerned about her future with the Company because Mr. Charney “told [the employee] he can get a younger girl that can suck him and fuck him and pay her a lot less than [the employee].”

30. In October 2013, at the Company’s La Mirada facility, Mr. Charney became enraged and shouted at an employee, “You weakling! . . . There’s not enough Spartans in here! And you’re the weakest of the group! . . . You pathetic loser! Loser! Ten miles of fucking piece of shit loser!” Mr. Charney then exclaimed, “Fuck!” and threw a full bottle of ibuprofen, striking an employee in the face. Mr. Charney then stated, “I didn’t mean to do that, but I’ll tell you one thing, . . . you fucking pushed me!”

Improper Use of Corporate Assets

31. As set out in the Suspension Letter, Mr. Charney “used corporate assets in an inappropriate manner and for personal, non-business reasons without approval of the Board.” This included, but is not limited to, causing the Company to pay his personal legal expenses, receiving cash advances and loans from the Company without Board or Audit Committee approval, and removing, or directing the removal of, cash from retail stores.

Operative Company Policies

32. American Apparel has numerous policies and procedures that Mr. Charney, as CEO, was responsible for implementing and complying with. Those policies include, but are not limited to:

  • A non-discrimination policy pursuant to which “American Apparel seeks to hire, retain, promote, and otherwise treat all applicants and employees without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, gender or gender identity, sexual preference, marital status, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, . . . or any other characteristic protected by law.”
  • An anti-retaliation policy pursuant to which “[n]o employee will be retaliated against for making a complaint or bringing inappropriate conduct to the Company’s attention, for preventing unlawful practices, or for participating in an investigation . . .”
  • An anti-harassment policy prohibiting harassment on the basis of race, religion, sex, national origin or other legally protected status.
  • A policy against sexual harassment including unwelcome or unsolicited sexual advances.
  • An electronic information and web resources policy prohibiting inappropriate use of electronic resources including phones, cameras, computers, computer accounts, email accounts and networks.

33. In December 2014, following a six-month investigation into Mr. Charney’s conduct, the Suitability Committee voted unanimously that Mr. Charney was not suitable to return to the Company as CEO or serve as an officer or employee of the Company, and the Board voted that Mr. Charney should be terminated for cause under the terms of his employment agreement.

34. Immediately thereafter, Mr. Charney began a campaign to attack the Company and its reputation, and the reputation of its Directors and new CEO, Paula Schneider, by communicating with employees, investors and the press. As part of his recent attempts to disparage the Company, Mr. Charney has attempted to incite labor unrest and has orchestrated the filing of dozens of claims against the Company in various lawsuits and with the National Labor Relations Board (“NRLB”). Mr. Charney’s attorney, Keith Fink, recently admitted to the press that Mr. Charney is “directly involved” in the NLRB charges and other lawsuits against the Company. Mr. Fink also promised a “tidal wave” of new lawsuits against the Company. A Delaware Chancery Court recently issued a temporary restraining order against Mr. Charney that prevents him from continuing in his efforts to publicly malign the Company and its Directors.

35. Mr. Charney’s recent communications regarding the Company are false and were made with the intent to disrupt the day-to-day operations of the Company. For example, a number of emails were sent to American Apparel employees by Mr. Charney through intermediaries disparaging the Board and the Company. One such email contained the subject line “If You Care About Your Job With American Apparel Please Read.” The email contained a link to a petition supporting Mr. Charney and stated as follows about the Company’s new leadership: “We have a bunch of consultants draining our company sitting in a room all day making 6 figures a month. THAT IS NOT AMERICAN APPAREL.” The email referenced me by name and suggested that American Apparel employees should not be comfortable with the Company “in [my] hands.” Email forensics indicates that these emails were sent from Mr. Charney’s house.

36. A number of employees made inquiries of their supervisors regarding Mr. Charney’s status with American Apparel. In response to these inquiries, and in an attempt to allay the concerns of Company employees, I sent a letter dated April 24, 2015, a copy of which is attached to Mr. Charney’s Complaint in this Action as Exhibit E. Attached to that letter was a copy of the Suspension Letter sent on June 18, 2014, which has been publicly available on the internet since that date. My sole purpose in sending this letter was to provide American Apparel employees with an update regarding Mr. Charney’s future with the Company, which I believe I they needed and deserved in light of the concerns expressed by many employees regarding the same.

37. In the letter, I set forth the basis for Mr. Charney’s termination for cause as I understood it in my role as Chairperson of the Board and a member of the Suitability Committee–that is, that Mr. Charney was terminated f0r the reasons set out in the Suspension Letter and otherwise publicly disclosed by the Company. The letter also set forth my opinion that Mr. Charney will not return to American Apparel in any capacity. Based on the information known to the Board of Directors about Mr. Charney’s involvement with the Impersonation Blogs, his abusive and discriminatory manner of dealing with American Apparel employees, his threats of violence, and his long history of inappropriate sexual relationships with Company employees and models, I believe the risk Mr. Charney poses to American Apparel and its employees is far too significant for the Company to entertain the possibility of maintaining any future working relationship with him.

38. Specific statements in my April 24, 2015 letter were all supported by, inter alia, independent evidence revealed. For example:

  • The letter states “Many of you have expressed concern that Mr. Charney continues to claim he is returning to American Apparel. He is not.” This statement is supported by the Standstill Agreement attached hereto as Exhibit pursuant to which Mr. Charney agreed to abide by the findings of the Suitability Committee and, as noted below, not to return as an executive or employee of the Company. Additionally, this statement is supported by Mr. Charney’s misconduct including, but not limited to, the misconduct described above which supported the determination of the Suitability Committee.
  • The letter states that “Mr. Charney repeatedly violated the Company’s sexual harassment and anti-discrimination policy and used corporate assets for personal, non-business reasons.” Each of these statements is supported by the evidence uncovered in the investigation. Mr. Charney sent illicit text messages and emails, engaged in sexual liaisons, some of which were allegedly not consensual, and used Company electronic resources to engage in this, behavior. These actions violate Company policy as set forth above. Likewise, Mr. Charney’s verbal and physical abuse of employees, including using racial, ethnic and religious slurs such as “wannabe Jew,” Asian and African American slurs, “Filipino pigs,” and other such slurs and insults violated Company policy as set forth above. Mr. Charney obtained loans and advances without Board or Audit Committee approval and removed, or directed the removal of, a substantial amount of cash from American Apparel retail stores without documenting the business use of such ?inds. Additionally, he used Company funds to pay his personal legal fees. Mr. Charney’s actions in this regard, without prior Board or Audit Committee approval, were a misuse of corporate assets.
  • The letter states that Mr. Charney “agreed in writing, in a contract on file with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), that if he was found to be not suitable . . . he would not return as CEO, an executive or as an employee of the Company.” This statement is entirely true as evidenced by the Standstill Agreement attached hereto as Exhibit B.
  • The letter states “Mr. Charney was found not suitable and the Board fired him for cause.” As set forth above, on December 15, 2014, the Suitability Committee voted unanimously that Mr. Charney was not suitable to return to the Company as CEO or serve as an officer or employee of the Company, and the Board voted to terminate Mr. Charney for cause under the terms of his employment agreement.
  • The letter states “the SEC has notified the Company that they have launched a formal investigation into possible violations of the securities regulations during the time that Mr. Charney was CEO.” This statement is accurate.
  • The letter states “given this set of facts . . . it would be hard to find any Board of any company (public or private) that would be willing to hire Mr. Charney as its CEO, executive, or employee. The risk to the Company and its shareholders would just be too great.” In my opinion as a longtime executive with extensive experience in the management of public and private companies, with a particular focus on corporate governance (including as a director of three public companies), this is an accurate statement. Notwithstanding all of the above, just days after my April 24, 2015 letter was sent, Mr. Charney initiated this Action on May 12, 2015, in my opinion to silence me from communicating to the American Apparel employees who have inquired regarding Mr. Charney’s status with the Company.

39. In addition to his antics, Mr. Charney has initiated an arbitration proceeding related to his perceived wrongful termination. That proceeding is ongoing.

I declare under penalty of perjury of the laws of the State of California that the foregoing is true and correct.

Executed this 19th day of June, 2015 at Los Angeles, California.

By: Colleen Birdnow Brown

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Jury awards woman $18 million in New York Global Group CEO Benjamin Wey sexual harassment lawsuit http://blog.ebosswatch.com/2015/07/jury-awards-woman-18-million-in-new-york-global-group-ceo-benjamin-wey-sexual-harassment-lawsuit/ Wed, 01 Jul 2015 23:30:25 +0000 http://blog.ebosswatch.com/?p=17600 A federal jury has awarded a 25-year-old Swedish woman $18 million for allegedly being sexually harassed by her boss, New York Global Group CEO Benjamin Wey.  The jury in federal court in Manhattan awarded Hanna Bouveng $2 million in compensatory damages plus $16 million in punitive damages on sexual harassment, retaliation and defamation claims. It rejected a claim of assault and battery.

Bouveng, who was hired by Wey to work at his venture capital and private equity investment group despite the fact that she had no experience in finance, claims that Wey pressured Bouveng into having sex with him.

Wey allegedly had sex with Bouveng four times before firing her after he allegedly discovered that Bouveng had a boyfriend. In April 2014, Wey also allegedly kicked Bouveng out of a Tribeca apartment that he rented for her after she refused to continue having sex with him.

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American Apparel CEO Dov Charney Suspension Letter http://blog.ebosswatch.com/2015/06/american-apparel-ceo-dov-charney-suspension-letter/ http://blog.ebosswatch.com/2015/06/american-apparel-ceo-dov-charney-suspension-letter/#comments Wed, 01 Jul 2015 05:16:42 +0000 http://blog.ebosswatch.com/?p=17589 CONFIDENTIAL

June 18,2014

Via Hand Delivery To:
Dov Charney in New York

Via Certified Mail (7005 1820 0006 1200 8242)

Return Receipt Requested To:
Dov Charney

18 Apex Avenue
Los Angeles, California 90026

747 Warehouse Street
Los Angeles, California 90021

Re: Notice of Events and Circumstances Amounting to Cause
Notice of Intent to Terminate Employment

Dear Mr. Charney:

Pursuant to Section 7(a) of your Employment Agreement dated April 1, 2012 (the “Employment Agreement”), the Board of Directors of American Apparel, Inc. (the “Company”) hereby provides notice that (i) you have willfully and continuously failed to substantially perform your job duties under the Employment Agreement and (ii) you have engaged in willful misconduct that has materially injured the financial condition and business reputation of the Company. Based on your failures and misconduct, the Board intends to terminate your employment with the Company for cause effective July 19, 2014 unless you are able to fully effect a cure in accordance with the terms of the Employment Agreement.

The Board’s investigation of your misconduct is ongoing and has been hindered by the fact that certain information has not been made available to the Board. However, to date, the events and circumstances by which you failed to perform your job duties and the details of your willful misconduct include the following:

1. Breach of Fiduciary Duty. As an officer and director of American Apparel, you owe fiduciary duties to the Company. Among other things, your fiduciary obligations require you to act in the best interests of the Company, to act in good faith and to refrain from conduct that amounts to self dealing or presents a conflict of interest. You have violated the fiduciary obligations owed to the Company in several material ways. For example, you were aware of, but took no steps to prevent an employee under your direct supervision and control from creating and maintaining false, defamatory and impersonating blog posts about former American Apparel employees. You were in a position to prevent this conduct from occurring but, since it benefited you personally, you allowed it to continue. Your failure to act was not in the best interest of the Company. It exposed the Company to liability and at least in once instance directly resulted in an arbitrator finding that the Company acted with malice. Your failure to act also directly resulted in one arbitrator finding that the Company was vicariously liable for the conduct of your subordinate. Those findings, in turn, exposed the Company to a significant punitive damages award. You engaged in similar misconduct with respect to several other former American Apparel employees, resulting in material payments and probable future settlements of such claims.

We also recently learned that you presented significant severance packages to numerous former employees (including packages to Tina Pellegrino, Shannon Nadj and Josephine Delapaz) to ensure that your misconduct vis-a-vis these employees would not subject you to personal liability. None of these severance packages were discussed with or approved by the Board of Directors. These severance packages were material expenditures of Company funds that were not in the best interests of the Company and instead were to protect you from personal liability for misconduct.

Moreover, we were recently appraised that you engaged in misconduct including the potential subordination of perjury in a pending litigation matter and that your misconduct will undermine the Company’s position in that case.

2. Violation of Company Policy. You have violated numerous Company policies and have failed to take action to enforce the Company’s policies in derogation of your obligations as Chief Executive Officer. As is evident from a number of recent court rulings and arbitrator awards and decisions, you repeatedly engaged in conduct that violated the Company’s sexual harassment and anti-discrimination policy. Furthermore, you engaged in conduct that repeatedly put yourself in a position to be sued by numerous former employees for claims that include harassment, discrimination and assault.

In the recent past, you refused to participate in mandatory sexual harassment training and undermined the Company’s policies by interrupting employee sexual harassment training mandated under California law. By engaging in such conduct, you violated the Company’s Code of Ethics which, among other things, requires you to deter wrongdoing and promote compliance with applicable law, rules and regulations. You also violated the Code of Ethics by failing to stop your subordinate from posting false and defamatory blogs as discussed above. Furthermore, on several occasions you have made derogatory and disparaging remarks directed at persons of certain ethnicities or related to their gender, sexual orientation or religious persuasions that are discriminatory and offensive and are not in accordance with Company policies.

3. Misuse of Corporate Assets. You have used corporate assets in an inappropriate manner and for personal, non-business reasons without approval of the Board. For example, you continue to seek reimbursement by the Company for personal services such as legal consultation and certain property rentals and related expenses for various employees/consultants. The Board has reason to believe that many of these expenses were not legitimately incurred to advance the interests of the Company. These funds were instead used for personal reasons and to advance your personal objectives. Additionally, you have used Company assets to make substantial severance payments to protect you from personal liability. You have provided to employees various salary increases, bonuses, and commission payments that were not meant to reward exemplary performance or further the Company’s interests. Instead, you authorized these payments to induce employees to sign release agreements that were aimed at protecting you from personal liability for your misconduct. These payments, like the severance payments discussed above, were incurred for personal reasons and not to advance the legitimate business interests of the Company. You also have engaged in self dealing by purchasing travel for family members with Company funds. These self-dealing transactions were not approved by the Board.

Your misconduct has injured the Company’s financial condition and business reputation. In terms of finances, your conduct has required the Company to incur significant and unwarranted expenses, including expenses associated with litigation and defense costs, significant settlement payments, substantial severance packages that were granted to employees, and unwarranted business expenses that you incurred for personal reasons. The Company’s employment practices liability insurance retention has grown to $1 million from $350,000, causing an unacceptable level of risk for the Company, and the premiums for this insurance are well outside of industry standards. These risks and costs to the Company are a direct result of your actions. The resources American Apparel had to dedicate to defend the numerous lawsuits resulting from your conduct, and the loss of critical, qualified Company employees as a result of your misconduct are also costs that cannot be overlooked.

Your misconduct has also harmed the business reputation of the Company. This is illustrated by voluminous press reports describing your behavior and the fact that the Company has had a very difficult time raising capital and securing debt financing at reasonable rates because of your actions. Indeed, many financing sources have refused to become involved with American Apparel as long as you remain involved with the Company. When the Company has been able to secure financing, it has been required to pay a significant premium for that financing in significant part because of your conduct.

Based on the events and circumstances detailed above, you are hereby suspended and placed on administrative leave effective today, June 18, 2014. Your suspension and administrative leave will last until July 19, 2014 or until such earlier time as you are able to fully effect a cure of your misconduct. On July 19, 2014 we will inform you of our final decision concerning your employment status.

Effective immediately, you will be relieved of all of your job duties and obligations, including as President and Chief Executive Officer; your power to act on the Company’s behalf is hereby suspended. During your suspension, you shall not, on behalf of the Company, negotiate or enter into contracts, disburse funds. make any statements on the Company’s behalf to the press, public or vendors (or induce, condone or fail to prevent others from making such statements), attempt to communicate with current employees or former employees with continuing contractual obligations to the Company (including under severance arrangements), or disrupt or interfere in any way with the Company’s operations. You remain subject to and must continue to abide by the Company’s policies, including the Company’s confidentiality and non-disparagement policy. You also remain subject to continuing obligations under federal securities laws (including the prohibition against unauthorized disclosure of, or trading while in possession of, material non-public information) and continuing fiduciary duties under state law. During your suspension, you are not permitted to access directly or indirectly the Company’s computer systems or files, use any of the Company’s assets, or interact with any of the Company’s employees or former employees with continuing contractual obligations to the Company, visit the Company’s facilities (including but not limited to its manufacturing facilities, headquarters, distribution center, apartments and stores), or contact vendors or landlords, unless you obtain advance written permission from the Board of Directors and your request is tied directly to an attempt to cure the violations and misconduct described herein. If you violate the directives outlined in this paragraph, the Board will consider such conduct an additional “cause” to terminate your employment. During your suspension, you will continue to receive your salary and the other benefits required to be paid under your Employment Agreement.

The Board is continuing to investigate the scope and extent of your misconduct. The Board reserves the right to notify you of additional events and circumstances that constitute cause to terminate your employment. The Board also reserves the right to supplement and amend this notice as additional information is learned through the course of its ongoing investigation into your actions.

If you require additional details concerning the events and circumstances amounting to cause as outlined in this letter, please contact Tobias S. Keller, the Company’s Interim General Counsel at (213) 488-0226.

Sincerely,

/signature/

On behalf of the Board of Directors
of American Apparel, Inc.

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The UCLA Professor Gabriel Piterberg sexual harassment lawsuit allegations http://blog.ebosswatch.com/2015/06/the-ucla-professor-gabriel-piterberg-sexual-harassment-lawsuit-allegations/ http://blog.ebosswatch.com/2015/06/the-ucla-professor-gabriel-piterberg-sexual-harassment-lawsuit-allegations/#comments Tue, 23 Jun 2015 04:38:37 +0000 http://blog.ebosswatch.com/?p=17571 Two female UCLA graduate students filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against the University of California Regents on June 11, 2015.

The women claim that they were subjected to repeated instances of sexual harassment and sexual assault by UCLA Professor Gabriel Piterberg.

UCLA Professor Gabriel Piterberg

UCLA Professor Gabriel Piterberg (Image Source: YouTube)

Here are the allegations that the women made in their lawsuit complaint:

9. Plaintiff Takla is a graduate student at UCLA. She began her graduate studies at UCLA in fall 2006. She is pursuing a Ph.D. in History with a focus on Modern Middle Eastern Studies, and expects to submit her dissertation in 2016.

10. In September 2010, Professor Gabriel Piterberg became Plaintiff Takla’s dissertation advisor.

11. During the summers of 2010 and 2011, Plaintiff worked as Professor Piterberg’s research assistant. During the summer of 2011, Professor Piterberg began exhibiting behavior that made Plaintiff Takla uncomfortable and nervous to be around him. Professor Piterberg consistently attempted to turn the conversations with Plaintiff Takla to sexual matters. During his academic meetings with Plaintiff Takla, Professor Piterberg would often speak in detail about his and his girlfriend’s sexual relations and about sexual affairs he claimed to have had with other women. On the numerous occasions that this happened, Plaintiff Takla became uncomfortable, and would always try to change the topic of the conversation or find a reason to leave their meetings early, thus depriving her of full access to consistent academic advice and guidance.

Professor Piterberg makes unwanted sexual advances towards Plaintiff Takla

12. On March 28, 2013, Plaintiff Takla met with Professor Piterberg to discuss her dissertation. Professor Piterberg suggested that he come to Plaintiff Takla’s house, because he would be in that area speaking at an event. Plaintiff Takla suggested that they meet in the lobby of her apartment building, and then walk to a nearby coffee shop together.

13. During their meeting, while discussing an academic topic of interest to Plaintiff Takla, Professor Piterberg, apropos of nothing, shared a very personal experience about his girlfriend being a victim of abuse. Plaintiff Takla in turn shared some of her experiences as a prior victim of intimate partner violence. Immediately upon hearing what Plaintiff Takla had to say, Professor Piterberg’s eyes lit up.

14. He then said to her “I’m going to tell you something, but you can’t tell anyone.” Professor Piterberg told Plaintiff Takla, “As you’ve probably noticed, I’ve been a bit distant lately. This is because I had been feeling attracted to you and felt that I wouldn’t be able to judge your work objectively if I was feeling frustrated.” Plaintiff Takla understood that this was a reference to Professor Piterberg feeling sexually frustrated.

15. Plaintiff Takla started to panic when Professor Piterberg told her this; not only was it completely inappropriate, but she was afraid that she was going to lose her advisor. There were only two professors in the History Department who focused on Modern Middle Eastern Studies and could advise on her dissertation; the other professor was her previous advisor and she could not go back to him or she would have to change her topic and start over with her dissertation and research, losing years of hard work.

16. A fellow graduate student had previously warned Plaintiff Takla that Professor Piterberg could be vengeful, and that he had once tried to have a student removed from the graduate program because she wanted to work with another professor. It was only through the intervention of other History professors that this student had been able to continue at UCLA. It was clear to Plaintiff Takla that she could not risk enraging Professor Piterberg, as he had the power to distort, even to end, her academic future.

17. Plaintiff Takla told Professor Piterberg that she wanted a strictly professional relationship with him, and that she wanted him to remain her dissertation advisor. Professor Piterberg nodded in agreement. However, it quickly became clear that his assent was meaningless. At the end of their meeting, Professor Piterberg asked Plaintiff Takla if he could give her a birthday kiss. He leaned forward to kiss her on the lips and she quickly turned her cheek to him. He then told Plaintiff Takla that if she was not his student then he would have risked everything and really kissed her. Plaintiff Takla again told him that she only wanted a professional relationship with him.

18. As a result of Professor Piterberg’s sexual advances, Plaintiff Takla became very anxious and started experiencing panic attacks, had trouble sleeping and eating, and felt constantly nervous that he would try to sexually harass her again. Plaintiff Takla immediately began seeing a therapist to deal with the effects of the sexual harassment she had experienced.

Professor Gabriel Piterberg forces his tongue into Plaintiff Takla’s mouth

19. On April 26, 2013, Plaintiff Takla had to meet again with Professor Piterberg to discuss her dissertation. Professor Piterberg asked Plaintiff Takla to come to his house first, and then said they would go to a nearby coffee shop. Plaintiff Takla was nervous about meeting Professor Piterberg at his home after his actions at their previous meeting, but she was concerned that if she did not go she would lose her dissertation advisor.

20. When Plaintiff Takla drove up to Professor Piterberg’s house, he suggested that she park in the gated parking lot of his building. As Plaintiff Takla drove through the gate she began to feel increasingly trapped by the situation. However, she did not want to look like she was overreacting, so she parked her car and walked to a nearby coffee shop with Professor Piterberg.

21. The conversation at the coffee shop was strictly professional. Plaintiff Takla felt pleased that Professor Piterberg was respecting her wishes and keeping their relationship professional. Consequently, when Professor Piterberg suggested that they go back to his house for tea and to continue the conversation, she felt that it was safe to do so.

22. At Professor Piterberg’s house, the topic of conversation quickly changed from academics to Professor Piterberg’s sexual experiences, which made Plaintiff Takla feel very uneasy.

23. Professor Piterberg spoke at length about the details of his love affair with a woman at UCLA, whom Plaintiff Takla knew professionally. He told Plaintiff Takla that they could not keep their hands off each other and that whenever he saw her they engaged in heavy petting and kissing; however, she would not take it further because he had a girlfriend.

24. Ill at ease with this conversation, Plaintiff Takla started talking about an academic conference. However, Professor Piterberg quickly turned the conversation once again to his sexual affairs. He told her that he and a distinguished academic who was in the same field as Plaintiff Takla would have sex together each time they attended a conference, and that his then wife was so upset by this that she would no longer face him during sex, so he had to have sex with her from behind. Then, he graphically demonstrated this action with his hands.

25. Plaintiff Takla looked so discomfited during this conversation that Professor Piterberg observed and commented on her apparent tension. At that moment, Plaintiff Takla made an excuse to leave.

26. As Plaintiff Takla went to leave, Professor Piterberg gave her a hug, as had been a normal part of their interactions for the past several years. However, this time, he squeezed her very tightly and then started moving his arms up and down, caressing her back, hair and shoulders. Plaintiff Takla stood frozen in fear. He tried to pull her head up and started moving his head down to try to kiss her. He tried to kiss her twice, and each time she ducked away.

27. Plaintiff Takla at last managed to pull away from Professor Piterberg’s grip and moved towards the door. She was so appalled by his behavior that she told him that she wished he was not her advisor.

28. Professor Piterberg followed Plaintiff Takla to her car and, when they got there, he pressed himself against her and wrapped his arms around her once again. He began caressing her upper back and neck, and rubbing his hands over her hair. Abruptly, his body jerked into hers, and she could feel his erection. Professor Piterberg sighed with pleasure and said, “Oh, this is nice.” Plaintiff Takla was frozen with terror and shock.

29. Professor Piterberg gripped her head and forced it up towards his. He put his hand around her neck and pressed his lips against hers. Plaintiff Takla could not move or break away from him. He then opened his mouth, and forced his tongue roughly into her mouth.

30. Once Plaintiff Takla could get enough air to speak she said, “This is torture.” Professor Piterberg then finally released his hold on her; she quickly jumped into her car and drove away from him. Plaintiff Takla was shaking from this horrifying experience. She was terrified that she would crash her car, so she parked in a nearby supermarket and spent an hour just walking up and down the aisles, trying to pull herself together enough to drive home safely.

31. Plaintiff Takla was conflicted. Although she felt extremely violated, and dreaded the thought of seeing Professor Piterberg again, Plaintiff Takla believed that losing him as an advisor would destroy her career.

32. On May 1, 2013, Professor Piterberg emailed Plaintiff Takla, so she called to speak with him about the sexual assault. She clearly and directly told Professor Piterberg that what he did was inappropriate, and that she did not want any sexual contact with him. He responded that kissing and petting were “no big deal.” Plaintiff Takla told him that it was a big deal to her.

33. She told him that she was not comfortable with the power dynamic between them, and that he could not have any sexual contact with her; their relationship was strictly to be a professional one. He responded by saying, “That is big of you. You are doing the right thing, but it’s good that you didn’t say anything earlier, otherwise we wouldn’t have had that kiss.” Then he said that he would respect her wishes moving forward.

Professor Gabriel Piterberg continues to sexually harass Plaintiff Takla and sexually assaults her by reaching for her buttocks

34. Plaintiff Takla was preparing to leave the country that summer to do her dissertation research, so on May 9, 2013, she reluctantly met up with Professor Piterberg to discuss her research. She had previously told him she did not want to meet him behind closed doors again, so they agreed to meet in a public area on campus. During their meeting, Professor Piterberg spoke of dreaming about all of the women he had ever had sex with, and said that the list was long. He then told her that he had become cold, and needed to move their meeting into his office. Plaintiff Takla agreed to do so, but made sure that he left the door open, as Professor Piterberg’s conversation had made her nervous and she was still very distressed by what had taken place at his home on April 26, 2013.

35. While in his office, Professor Piterberg said to Plaintiff Takla, “You are really special to me. I’ve never had such feelings for anyone while I’m in such a good relationship.” Plaintiff Takla could not believe that he was saying this after their last conversation, so she got up to leave.

36. As Plaintiff Takla was leaving his office, Professor Piterberg offered to walk her to her car. He then put his arm around her waist and slid his hand down towards her buttocks, leaning forward in yet another attempt to kiss her. Plaintiff Takla pulled away from him.

37. The following day, Professor Piterberg called Plaintiff Takla. Plaintiff Takla asked him for a letter of recommendation to submit for the Fulbright fellowship. He responded by asking her, “Why can’t we just be lovers?,” and Plaintiff Takla was immediately worried that Professor Piterberg would try and initiate a sexual relationship with her in return for his supporting her fellowship application. Keen to keep things on a purely professional footing, Plaintiff Takla subsequently emailed Professor Piterberg the information that the Fulbright campus coordinator told her should be included in the letter.

38. After discussing the requirements for the Fulbright fellowship application, Professor Piterberg told Plaintiff Takla that he was having difficulty controlling himself around her, and that he wouldn’t blame her if she wanted to switch advisors, although it would be very bad for her academically. He said that the consequences would be more severe for her than for him because he had plenty of students and didn’t need her. Plaintiff Takla took this to be a threat.

39. Plaintiff Takla felt helpless and powerless; she feared that if she dropped Professor Piterberg as an advisor now, he would damage her career. Plaintiff Takla told him that her career was very important to her, and that she did not want to do anything to harm it, but that she only wanted a professional relationship with him. At the end of the conversation, Professor Piterberg said that he understood her concerns and would respect her wishes.

40. Several months after filing her sexual harassment complaint, on November 26, 2013, Plaintiff Takla learned that the letter of recommendation Professor Piterberg submitted on her behalf did not include any of the necessary information, and the technical review sheet also stated that his letter was “lukewarm.” Plaintiff Takla did not receive the Fulbright fellowship.

41. On May 28 and May 30, 2013, Plaintiff Takla met with Professor Piterberg to discuss her research and her progress in her graduate program. However, on both occasions, despite Plaintiff Takla’s clear expression of her wishes to the contrary, he would not discuss anything other than his sexual affairs with UCLA professors and graduate students.

42. On May 28, 2013, he told her about how he and a graduate student would have sex on her desk. Plaintiff Takla’s visible discomfort with the conversation did not stop Professor Piterberg.  Instead, he went into to graphic detail about his sexual intercourse with the student, telling Plaintiff Takla, “She demanded three orgasms before I could have one.”

43. He told her that one of the female academics he was having an affair with at UCLA gave him “a blowjob” while he was driving on a winding road.

44. Then he told her that another female academic looked like a European aunt he always had a crush on as a child, so when they were at a conference together he went back to her room and had sex with her.

45. On each occasion, Plaintiff Takla was very uncomfortable hearing about Professor Piterberg’s very graphic descriptions of his sexual experiences with UCLA faculty members and graduate students. Plaintiff Takla felt that Professor Piterberg was telling her these accounts in an attempt to convince her that it was customary for him to have sexual relations with graduate students, and that she should submit to his sexual advances.

46. On May 28, 2013, after hearing far too many details about Professor Piterberg’s sex life, Plaintiff Takla excused herself from the meeting; she told him that she needed to see another professor. Professor Piterberg told her that he would walk her to the professor’s office, and then followed her to her destination. When they got there, he put his arms around her and embraced her, then grabbed the back of her head and stared deeply into her eyes. Plaintiff Takla felt very uncomfortable; she was embarrassed because other students were in the corridor around them, and she did not know what to do other than walk away from him.

47. On May 30, 2013, Plaintiff Takla met Professor Piterberg again on campus because he had not given her the opportunity to discuss any academic topics during their May 28 meeting. They again sat at the tables in front of the campus research library, and Professor Piterberg began the meeting by telling her how he would like to use his research funds to hire a mistress instead of a research assistant. Plaintiff Takla felt extremely offended. He had hired her as a research assistant twice before; it was clear that he was trying to offer her the position, but this time in exchange for sex.

48. After these two demeaning meetings where Plaintiff Takla was constantly sexually harassed, she decided that she was going to drop Professor Piterberg as an advisor, despite the harm it might do to her career. She could not take his inappropriate behavior any longer, as he clearly did not respect her, and he had created a sexually hostile environment for her.

49. On June 12, 2013, Plaintiff Takla met Professor Piterberg on campus at the tables in front of the campus research library. When they were sitting down, Professor Piterberg rubbed Plaintiff Takla’s back. Again, he told her that he should use the money designated for hiring a research assistant to hire a mistress.

50. Plaintiff Takla told him that she could no longer have him as an advisor because of his continued harassment. Professor Piterberg was angry, and told her, “You should trust me. If I was you, I would trust me.” Plaintiff Takla further stressed that she was very uncomfortable with Professor Piterberg’s behavior. He responded, “Nothing’s going to happen unless we are in a car together.” Plaintiff Takla recalled what Professor Piterberg had told her about the woman from UCLA who had given him oral sex when they were in a car, and knew that he was insinuating that he would have sex with her if they were in a car together.

51. He then started talking about the famous philosophers Hannah Arendt and Martin Heidegger, who met when Arendt was Heidegger’s student and subsequently carried on a clandestine love affair for more than forty years. He told her that relationships like theirs were normal and that “If it is done right, professor and student relationships are supposed to be intimate.”

52. Professor Piterberg then told her that he masturbated while imagining the two of them together.

53. Throughout this meeting, Plaintiff Takla continued to voice her discomfort with him as her advisor and his comments, but Professor Piterberg was upset with Plaintiff Takla for wanting a new advisor. He told her, “If anything happened between us, it might be while you are writing the conclusion to your dissertation.” Plaintiff Takla immediately felt threatened, and worried that Professor Piterberg would demand sex from her in return for signing off on her dissertation. She told him again that she was uncomfortable with the situation, and he ended their meeting by recommending that she speak to his good friend, Professor Andrea Goldman, who was on Plaintiff Takla’s dissertation committee.

Plaintiff Takla reports Professor Piterberg’s behavior to UCLA

54. On June 12, 2013, after meeting with Professor Piterberg, Plaintiff Takla called UCLA’s ombudsman to seek help. She told the ombudsman about the sexual harassment by Professor Piterberg, and he told her to call UCLA’s Title IX Coordinator, Pamela Thomason. He did not explain to Plaintiff Takla what her rights were under Title IX.

55. Plaintiff Takla called Ms. Thomason’s office immediately after speaking with UCLA’s ombudsman; however, Ms. Thomason was out of the office for the next week. Plaintiff Takla left a voice message instead, stating that she wanted to report sexual harassment and that she would call back at a specific date and time. She was so terrified of the consequences of reporting Professor Piterberg’s behavior that she did not leave her name or phone number in the message.

56. Plaintiff Takla then reached out to Professor Goldman to see if she could replace Professor Piterberg as her dissertation advisor. Plaintiff Takla told Professor Goldman about everything that Professor Piterberg had done to her and explained how uncomfortable she felt about working with him.

57. Professor Goldman said that she believed Professor Piterberg’s actions were sexual harassment; however, she refused to be Plaintiff Takla’s new advisor and insisted that no one would hire her later for an academic job in her field unless her supervisor was a Middle East historian. She then encouraged Plaintiff Takla to keep Professor Piterberg on the committee and offered to co-chair with him so that she wouldn’t have to meet with him alone. This was unacceptable to Plaintiff Takla, as she did not want Professor Piterberg having any influence and power over her dissertation, nor did she want to have to be in his presence given his pervasive sexual harassment and advances.

58. On June 24, 2013, Plaintiff Takla was finally able to speak with Ms. Thomason over the telephone. Without giving her name, she told Ms. Thomason that she had been sexually harassed by her advisor at UCLA, and that she had written a letter to her harasser which described his inappropriate conduct and how it had affected her, but had not sent it to him. At first Ms. Thomason seemed supportive. She encouraged Plaintiff Takla to reveal her harasser’s name, and asked Plaintiff Takla to send her the unsent letter so that she could show it to him.

59. The following day, June 25, 2013, Plaintiff Takla emailed the letter to Ms. Thomason. In doing so, she disclosed her name and Professor Piterberg’s name. Ms. Thomason said that if Plaintiff Takla put matters on a more formal footing, she would confront Professor Piterberg with the contents of the letter. However, Ms. Thomason did not explain to Plaintiff Takla what Title IX was or what protection it offered. Nor did she explain to Plaintiff Takla what would happen once she made a complaint. Plaintiff Takla formalized her complaint. She and Ms. Thomason then spoke briefly and scheduled a time to meet the following day. Ms. Thomason also said that she had spoken to UCLA’s History Department’s Chair, Professor David Myers, and he wanted to meet with Plaintiff Takla as soon as possible.

60. Plaintiff Takla met with Professor Myers on June 26, 2013, and requested a new advisor to replace Professor Piterberg because of the sexual harassment she had endured. Professor Myers agreed. At the end of their conversation, he asked Plaintiff Takla not to speak to anyone about what had happened with Professor Piterberg. It made her feel extremely uncomfortable and disheartened that he was asking her to remain silent and let Professor Piterberg get away with sexually harassing her.

UCLA acts with deliberate indifference to Plaintiff Takla’s report of sexual harassment and assault

61. On June 26, 2013, Plaintiff Takla met with Ms. Thomason. During this brief meeting, which lasted no more than thirty minutes, Plaintiff Takla was, again, never once advised of her Title IX rights or her rights under the University of California Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence Policy.

62. Shortly after her meeting with Ms. Thomason, Plaintiff Takla left the country for the summer to conduct research. Within a few days of being out of the country, on July 2, 2013, Plaintiff Takla received an e-mail from Ms. Thomason informing her that she had interviewed Professor Piterberg, and that he had admitted to the “basic facts,” but denied “manipulating or trying to coerce” her. Ms. Thomason told Plaintiff Takla that, since Professor Piterberg had admitted to the “basic facts,” the University was going to handle this via Early Resolution.

63. On July 8, 2013, Plaintiff Takla and Ms. Thomason spoke via Skype. Ms. Thomason said that Professor Piterberg admitted to the kiss, but told her that he thought Plaintiff Takla may have initiated the kiss, which was a blatant lie. He also told Ms. Thomason that this was not sexual harassment, but a mutual attraction, which again was not true.

64. On July 9, 2013, Ms Thomason informed Plaintiff Takla that a graduate student and a junior faculty member had come forward to say they had also experienced sexual harassment by Professor Piterberg. On July 18, 2013, Plaintiff Takla responded, asking how this affected how the university would handle the matter. Ms. Thomason replied, saying that she would interview one more woman. However, she was only concerned with people that had Professor Piterberg as their advisor. A day later, Plaintiff Takla made it clear to Ms. Thomason that her main concern was that UCLA imposed a punishment severe enough to deter Professor Piterberg from what was quite clearly pervasive conduct, and a pattern of harassing behavior.

65. By July 25, 2013, Plaintiff Takla had done her own research and learned that she could have a formal hearing before the Academic Senate, which was her preference. Consequently, she asked Ms. Thomason (by e-mail) for a hearing before the Academic Senate to address the sexual harassment and assault by Professor Piterberg. Ms. Thomason dissuaded Plaintiff Takla from taking the case before the Academic Senate and told her that the Senate was made up of Professor Piterberg’s peers, so there would be no point because they would all side with him. Ms. Thomason then convinced Plaintiff Takla that Early Resolution was the best way to handle this matter and told Plaintiff Takla that she would still learn of the punishment and sanctions against Professor Piterberg, but would never have to testify before the Senate. It was clear to Plaintiff Takla that, in reality, UCLA was offering her no other option.

66. Ms. Thomason told Plaintiff Takla that before UCLA could handle Professor Piterberg’s sexual assault and harassment through Early Resolution, Carol Goldberg, UCLA’s Vice Chancellor and a Professor of Law, had to make sure that he had not sexually harassed any other women on campus. Ms. Thomason said that she would conduct an investigation into this, and get back to Plaintiff Takla.

67. Ms. Thomason learned through that investigation that, in addition to the Plaintiffs, Professor Piterberg sexually harassed another graduate student at UCLA, a junior professor in another department, and a junior professor in the History Department. However, since none of these individuals were students of Professor Piterberg’s, Ms. Thomason decided to treat his sexual harassment and assault against Plaintiff Takla as a “one off.”

68. UCLA ignored all the other complaints individuals filed or tried to file against Professor Piterberg and settled Ms. Takla’s case through Early Resolution. Under UCLA’s policy on sexual harassment, however, Early Resolution is not permitted in cases that involve sexual assault and/or multiple complaints of sexual misconduct, such as this case. UCLA Procedure 630.1 for Responding to Reports of Sexual Harassment (“UCLA Harassment Procedure”) sets out the Los Angeles campus’ local procedures. At section V.B.2, it clearly states that Early Resolution is inappropriate where (1) the facts are in dispute in reports of serious misconduct; (2) reports involve individuals with a pattern of inappropriate behavior; or (3) there are allegations of criminal acts such as sexual assault.

69. By the time Ms. Thomason had spoken to Plaintiff Glasgow and at least one other woman who had come forward, UCLA had knowledge of the following: (1) Professor Piterberg had, by Ms. Thomason’s own words, admitted only the “basic facts” of Plaintiff Takla’s complaint, leaving a number of other facts in dispute in circumstances where the harassment was serious and pervasive; (2) Professor Piterberg exhibited a clear pattern of harassing behavior in respect of more than one woman – engineering a situation where he could be alone with a woman, then making sexual advances toward her, and then trying to pressure her into entering into a sexual relationship with him using his status and authority as a UCLA professor to do so; and (3) at times, Professor Piterberg’s conduct escalated to such a level that it constituted sexual assault, defined in the University of California’s Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence Policy (“Sexual Harassment Policy”) as “physical sexual activity… engaged without the consent of the other person or when the other person is unable to consent to the activity.” This definition clearly covers the behavior displayed by Professor Piterberg on a number of occasions; the stroking of Plaintiff Takla’s back, neck, and hair, the forcing of her head into a position where he could push his tongue into her mouth, and the groping of Plaintiff Takla’s bottom in his office.

70. Based on these circumstances, Ms. Thomason was obliged to encourage Plaintiff Takla to file a written request for a Formal Investigation. However, Ms. Thomason did no such thing. Instead, she actively discouraged Plaintiff Takla from pursuing a Formal Investigation, saying that Professor Piterberg’s peers may well side with him instead of finding for Plaintiff Takla, and that an Early Resolution would be faster and more effective.

71. The Sexual Harassment Policy and the UCLA Harassment Procedure also state that agreements reached through Early Resolution efforts should be documented. However, when Plaintiff Takla requested a copy of the investigative report in May 2014, one month after she was notified that her case had been closed, Ms. Thomason told Plaintiff Takla that there was no formal documentation or report because the investigation had been terminated by the conclusion of the Early Resolution.

72. Plaintiff Takla reported Professor Piterberg’s sexual assault and harassment to Ms. Thomason on June 24, 2013; the case was not closed until March 2014. It took UCLA over nine months to complete its investigation, which is a violation of Title IX policies. UCLA also never made any findings after its nine month investigation, in contravention of what Title IX requires.

73. Further, Plaintiff Takla was then deprived of learning the outcome of the Early Resolution and whether Professor Piterberg was sanctioned for his conduct. Although she had received an e-mail from Ms. Thomason on October 28, 2013 stating that UCLA would tell her the terms of the resolution once that resolution had been reached, Ms. Thomason told her on June 10, 2014 that she could not provide any information at all. It is doubtful that Professor Piterberg received any meaningful sanction for his behavior because he has remained a member of the faculty, and continues to teach at UCLA.

74. Ms. Thomason did not treat Plaintiff Takla’s situation with any seriousness. During numerous conversations she told Plaintiff Takla a story about a friend of hers from law school who was continually pursued and harassed by a classmate, and even though she was not initially interested in him, they were now happily married. This was extremely inappropriate. Plaintiff Takla had never accepted Professor Piterberg’s sexual advances, and had made it very clear to Ms. Thomason that she found them abhorrent, and that they were not reciprocated in any way.

Plaintiff Takla suffered damages as a result of Professor Piterberg’s sexual harassment and UCLA’s deliberate indifference

75. Plaintiff Takla had to start seeing a therapist immediately after Professor Piterberg first sexually harassed her to deal with the severe emotional distress arising from that incident, and she continued to see a therapist to deal with the anxiety and panic attacks that she developed as a result of the sexual harassment and UCLA’s deliberate indifference.

76. Fear of running into Professor Piterberg and being subjected to additional sexual harassment has prevented Plaintiff Takla from going to UCLA’s campus. As a result, she does not benefit from the resources on campus that could assist her with completing her dissertation.

77. Plaintiff Takla will now be at a disadvantage on the job market due to the loss of an advisor in her field who knew her very well as a student. Plaintiff Takla had worked as both a research and teaching assistant for Professor Piterberg, and she had taken classes with him. Graduate students are strongly advised to get letters of recommendation from professors who know them well as students, and the loss of Professor Piterberg as a reference will serve as a disadvantage for Plaintiff Takla in her future job search.

Plaintiff Kristen Hillaire Glasgow

78. Plaintiff Glasgow started at UCLA as an undergraduate in 2004. After graduating in 2006 with a degree in History, Plaintiff Glasgow started in the graduate program at UCLA pursuing a PhD in History with a focus on African-American female intellectuals during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. She plans on submitting her dissertation in December 2015.

79. Professor Piterberg began sexually harassing Plaintiff Glasgow in 2008, and continued to harass her until October 2013, which is the last time she saw Professor Piterberg

Professor Piterberg sexually assaults Plaintiff Glasgow by forcing his tongue in her mouth

80. On February 13, 2008, Plaintiff Glasgow’s undergraduate advisor Paul Padilla, an employee of UCLA, invited her to have coffee with him and his friend Professor Piterberg. Plaintiff Glasgow accepted his invitation; this was the first time that she was introduced to Professor Piterberg.

81. During the coffee, there was discussion about Plaintiff Glasgow’s recent, and very painful, separation from her husband of ten years. Professor Piterberg became oddly interested in Plaintiff Glasgow’s divorce. Even though they had just met, Professor Piterberg asked about Plaintiff Glasgow’s separation, and particularly why she and her husband had separated.

82. When Plaintiff Glasgow explained that the relationship had been over for some time, because there had been no intimacy for seven years, Professor Piterberg’s demeanor changed markedly. He became particularly interested in her husband not wanting to be intimate with her; he told her that he could not imagine lying in bed next to her and not wanting to “molest” her or be intimate with her. This made Plaintiff Glasgow feel extremely uncomfortable.

83. Once they were finished having coffee, Plaintiff Glasgow left to walk to her car. Professor Piterberg asked if he could walk with her because they were both parked in the same lot.

84. When they reached Professor Piterberg’s car, he told Plaintiff Glasgow, “In another time and place we would be together.” Then he pushed her up against his car and kissed her, forcing his tongue into her mouth (exactly as he had done to Plaintiff Takla). Plaintiff Glasgow did not return the kiss. Instead, she raised her hands and arms in a defensive gesture to try to get Professor Piterberg to back away from her. After getting away from Professor Piterberg and reaching her car, Plaintiff Glasgow was shaken and humiliated, and was unable to drive away for some time.

Professor Piterberg continues to sexually harass Plaintiff Glasgow and create a sexually hostile environment for her at UCLA

85. Plaintiff Glasgow avoided Professor Piterberg on campus for an entire year, until 2009 when she could no longer avoid him because she started working in the same building as him, at the National Center for History at Schools (“NCHS”) which was located on the main floor of UCLA’s History Department. Once Plaintiff Glasgow started working for NCHS, she noticed that Professor Piterberg would come to the NCHS office to get free coffee, so she could not avoid him any longer.

86. Plaintiff Glasgow would take smoking breaks outside the NCHS, and Professor Piterberg started joining her and others for a smoke. Plaintiff Glasgow was very uneasy with his presence, and was careful to make sure that she was never alone with him.

87. During these smoking breaks, Professor Piterberg would constantly steer the conversation towards sexual topics. At one time, he asked a female smoker what her favorite sexual position was, told everyone present that his was on a stool, and that facing the woman while “fucking” her was a “turn-on.”

88. During another smoking break, Professor Piterberg learned that Plaintiff Glasgow and her partner of a few years had ended their relationship, so he asked her if she would have an affair with him, date him, or have a one night stand with him – that he would take anything. Plaintiff Glasgow, in complete shock, refused, saying that it would be utterly inappropriate.

89. In 2009, Plaintiff Glasgow received a telephone call from Professor Piterberg at around 9:30 p.m. Recognizing the call to be from Professor Piterberg on her caller ID, Plaintiff Glasgow did not answer the call. The following day, Professor Piterberg told Plaintiff Glasgow, “It’s good that you didn’t answer, because I was having dinner with Russell Jacoby who lives near you, and I was going to stop by so we could make love.” Plaintiff Glasgow said that it was a good thing she did not answer.

90. On nearly every occasion that Plaintiff Glasgow saw Professor Piterberg in the smoking group, he would comment on her physical appearance, calling her “sexy” and “hot” in front of the other faculty members and students; this made her feel extremely uncomfortable.

91. Over the course of the next several years, the sexual harassment continued, and Professor Piterberg cultivated a sexually hostile environment for Plaintiff Glasgow and the other women in the History Department, constantly making sexually charged comments and steering conversations towards lewd and inappropriate topics. However, Plaintiff Glasgow was aware that Professor Piterberg sat on the Departmental Continuing Funding Awards Committee, which made decisions about which students should be allocated funding, and, being a non-recruited graduate student, Plaintiff Glasgow was, to a large extent, dependent on awards from that committee in order to continue her studies. Consequently, Plaintiff Glasgow knew that she had to avoid angering Professor Piterberg, particularly as he had said that he would try to ensure that Plaintiff Glasgow received funding for her studies.

Plaintiff Glasgow reports Professor Piterberg’s sexual assault and harassment to UCLA

92. On July 7, 2013, Plaintiff Glasgow received a call from a faculty member in the History Department informing her that Plaintiff Takla filed a sexual harassment complaint against Professor Piterberg with UCLA’s Title IX Coordinator to no avail. Plaintiff Glasgow was told there were rumors that Professor Piterberg was threatening to retaliate against Plaintiff Takla.

93. Plaintiff Glasgow was disgusted to know that Professor Piterberg was sexually harassing other women on campus in a similar manner to what she experienced and that UCLA was not going to do anything about it, so on July 8, 2013, she decided to call Ms. Thomason to report the sexual harassment and sexual assault she had been subjected to by Professor Piterberg. The following day, Plaintiff Glasgow telephoned Ms. Thomason and told her story. Ms. Thomason told Plaintiff Glasgow that she could give her report over the telephone to Ms. Thomason, and that it would still be an “official, on the record” statement.

94. Plaintiff Glasgow told Ms. Thomason about the sexual harassment and assault she had experienced, and how this had made her feel humiliated. She also told Ms. Thomason about Professor Piterberg’s constant references to wanting to “fuck” colleagues and graduate students at UCLA.

95. Ms. Thomason then read Plaintiff Glasgow’s statement back to her, and told her that they were originally going to treat Plaintiff Takla’s complaint as a “one off”, but that Plaintiff Glasgow’s report changed matters, and that she would be in touch with Plaintiff Glasgow in a week or less.

96. Plaintiff Glasgow asked Ms. Thomason to be kept updated, because she was too afraid to go onto campus until she heard from Ms. Thomason and knew what UCLA was going to do about Professor Piterberg.

97. Plaintiff Glasgow then telephoned the History Department Chair, Professor Myers, and told him she had had been sexually harassed by Professor Piterberg. Professor Myers’ response was to ask her not to share her story with anyone. This violated the Sexual Harassment Policy, which states that “any manager, supervisor, or designated employee responsible for reporting or responding to sexual harassment or sexual violence who knew about the incident and took no action to stop or failed to report the prohibited act may be subject to disciplinary action.”

UCLA acted with deliberate indifference when they refused to allow Plaintiff Glasgow, a victim of sexual harassment, to file a Title IX complaint

98. More than four weeks later, Plaintiff Glasgow telephoned Ms. Thomason to follow up, because she had not heard anything, and was still uncomfortable going to campus. Ms. Thomason said that she did not remember speaking to Plaintiff Glasgow, became very defensive, and said that she had not agreed to follow up with Plaintiff Glasgow. Plaintiff Glasgow was very confused, because she had had a long and detailed conversation with Ms. Thomason previously.

99. The Sexual Harassment Policy states that the Title IX Officer is to “provide prompt and effective responses to reports of sexual harassment…,” which Ms. Thomason did not do.

100. Ms. Thomason then told Plaintiff Glasgow that UCLA had decided to treat Plaintiff Takla’s case as a one-off incident by Professor Piterberg.

101. When Plaintiff Glasgow started to ask questions about her complaint, Ms. Thomason became hostile, and told Plaintiff Glasgow that if this matter went before the Academic Senate, everyone would side with Professor Piterberg because they were his peers. Plaintiff Glasgow felt horrified by what she was being told. It was clear to her that, not only was she being dissuaded from filing a complaint against Professor Piterberg, but Ms. Thomason was trying to prevent her from doing so in the way she was delaying her responses to Plaintiff Glasgow’s complaint, taking the complaints orally rather than in written form, pretending their previous conversation had not occurred, and suggesting to Plaintiff Glasgow that the formal complaint process was decisively stacked against her.

102. At no time did Ms. Thomason ever advise Plaintiff Glasgow of her rights under Title IX or the Sexual Harassment Policy, which requires that individuals reporting sexual harassment be informed about their options for resolving claims of sexual harassment.

103. Ms. Thomason did not allow Plaintiff Glasgow to proceed with a complaint against Professor Piterberg for being a victim of physical and verbal sexual harassment and having to suffer a sexually hostile environment.

104. On April 25, 2014, Plaintiff Glasgow received an email from Bib Dhillonn, Chief Administrative Officer for the History Department, who is often in charge of organizing sexual harassment task forces. Ms. Dhillonn asked her why she no longer came to the History Department anymore. Plaintiff Glasgow, at this point, had only been to the History Department once in six months, in an effort to avoid further sexual harassment and a hostile environment, told Ms. Dhillonn that she was uncomfortable due to “sexual harassment issues,” to which Ms. Dhillonn responded, “I’m so sorry to hear that; it sucks. I hope I’ll still get to see you occasionally, at least. You have a good weekend, too!” Ms. Dhillonn never offered Plaintiff Glasgow any assistance to address the problem. Instead, she chose to ignore it.

105. On June 3, 2014, Professor Myers sent a letter to the History Department from the UCLA Sexual Harassment Task Force. Plaintiff Glasgow replied to this letter in detail, noting her disappointment with how her complaint had been handled. Professor Myers responded, apologizing “for his own lack of responsiveness,” and three weeks later, they met for lunch. During their lunch, Professor Myers asked Plaintiff Glasgow why she had never come forward on the record against Professor Piterberg. Plaintiff Glasgow was surprised and confused.

106. Plaintiff Glasgow told Professor Myers that she had come forward and reported the sexual harassment. Professor Myers said that, according to Ms. Thomason, this was not the case.

107. Plaintiff Glasgow and Professor Myers agreed that they would have an informal meeting with Muriel McClendon, Professor and Vice Chair Graduate Affairs, to discuss Plaintiff Glasgow’s complaint against Professor Piterberg. Plaintiff Glasgow waited to hear back from Professor Myers about the meeting with Vice Chair McClendon; however, Professor Myers took no steps to organize this meeting.

108. On Wednesday, August 13, 2014, Plaintiff Glasgow asked Professor McClendon if she had been contacted by Professor Myers regarding the informal meeting to follow up about Professor Piterberg’s sexual misconduct. Professor McClendon replied that she has no idea what Plaintiff Glasgow was referring to and never heard about this from Professor Myers.

109. Consequently, Plaintiff Glasgow contacted Janice Reiff, UCLA Professor and the President of the Academic Senate, who asked for 24 hours to figure out who Plaintiff Glasgow should be speaking to about Professor Piterberg’s behavior. During their meeting, Professor Reiff was clear to Plaintiff Glasgow that the lack of responsiveness and/or information and support provided to Plaintiff Glasgow by Ms. Thomason was a clear violation of Title IX.

110. Plaintiff Glasgow heard nothing until around ten days later, when she received a rude voicemail from Ms. Thomason saying that someone in the History Department had told her to contact Plaintiff Glasgow. She was shocked to learn that Professor Reiff called Ms. Thomason after their conversation, given that Ms. Thomason had treated her earlier complaints so derisorily.

111. When Plaintiff Glasgow returned her call, Ms. Thomason was not in her office, so she left a detailed message. Plaintiff Glasgow never heard back from Ms. Thomason. A month later she heard from a temporary staff member in UCLA’s Title IX Office. Later she learned that Ms. Thomason had left UCLA. Ms. Thomason is now the Title IX Compliance Officer for all of the California State Universities.

112. A month later, Plaintiff Glasgow received a voicemail from a new Title IX staff member asking to hear from her. Plaintiff Glasgow chased them a number of times by telephone, before leaving a voicemail asking, “What does a sexually harassed graduate student have to do to get the Title IX office to call her back?” At this point she was frustrated by the constant avoidance tactics being used by the Title IX office.

113. A week later, Plaintiff Glasgow received a call from a Title IX employee saying she should come in to see them. However, by this time, over a year had passed since Plaintiff Glasgow first reported Professor Piterberg’s sexual harassment to UCLA’s Title IX office. They had acted with such deliberate indifference to the complaints raised about Professor Piterberg by Plaintiff Takla and Plaintiff Glasgow that Plaintiff Glasgow was thoroughly disheartened and believed the Title IX staff and UCLA had no intention of helping her in any way, or to properly address her concerns. Professor Piterberg continued to sexually harass Plaintiff Glasgow after UCLA was on notice of his behavior.

114. In early August of 2013, Professor Piterberg had asked Plaintiff Glasgow to have coffee with him on campus. Plaintiff Glasgow wanted to avoid Professor Piterberg, but she was curious if he knew about the report she tried to file with the Title IX Coordinator, and thought this would be a good opportunity to find out if any steps had been taken, since she had not heard anything from Ms. Thomason. During the course of their brief coffee together, it became clear to Plaintiff Glasgow that Professor Piterberg did not know that she had complained about him, and that UCLA’s Title IX Coordinator had never done anything with her report. He continued to steer the conversation towards the topic of sex, and asked Plaintiff Glasgow if she had ever been with a woman. He then jokingly asked, “Is that sexual harassment?” When Plaintiff Glasgow replied “yes,” he simply laughed.

115. On October 5, 2013, Plaintiff Glasgow attended an annual party for graduate students of the History Department, hosted by Professor James Gelvin. Professor Piterberg was present at the party, as it was customary for graduate students and professors from the History Department to attend.

116. While at the party, Professor Piterberg cornered Plaintiff Glasgow; she was unable to get away from him because she was in a corner blocked by a staircase and Professor Piterberg.

117. While cornered, Professor Piterberg asked Plaintiff Glasgow forcefully why they were not dating and in a relationship. He also commented on her physical appearance and told her she looked sexy that evening. He told her, “You are really special. I’ve never had such feelings for anyone while I’m in such a good relationship” (Plaintiff Glasgow did not know that Professor Piterberg had said the exact same thing to Plaintiff Takla just a few months earlier, on May 9, 2013). He said that he had special feelings for Plaintiff Glasgow and that, even though he had the best sex ever with his girlfriend, he could imagine how good he and Plaintiff Glasgow would be together.

118. Plaintiff Glasgow was very uncomfortable and unable to escape from Professor Piterberg; she was also extremely embarrassed because her colleagues observed this and most, if not all, knew at this point that Plaintiff Takla had filed a complaint against Professor Piterberg for sexual harassment.

Plaintiff Glasgow suffered damage as a result of Professor Piterberg’s sexual harassment and UCLA’s deliberate indifference

119. Plaintiff Glasgow is now afraid to go onto campus because she knows that she is not safe from Professor Piterberg’s sexual advances. When she does have to attend meetings at the History Department, she sneaks up the back stairs to avoid being seen by him. She feels as though she has a target on her back for reporting Title IX issues, and that she has no support within the History Department, having gone from an integral part of the department (having been History Graduate Student Association co-president for two years) to someone who felt shunned and avoided.

120. As a result of the University’s deliberate indifference, Plaintiff Glasgow suffers from emotional distress and anxiety. She suffers from panic attacks, and has experienced loss of appetite, and an unhealthy amount of weight loss (around 20 lb).

121. The physical and emotional toll on Plaintiff Glasgow has made it incredibly difficult for her to concentrate on writing her dissertation, to the point where she does not know if she will be able to complete it this year. She has also had to seek funding outside of the History Department because of Professor Piterberg’s position on the Departmental Continuing Funding Awards committee.

This is a report on a civil lawsuit filed at the U.S. District Court. The details in this report come from an original complaint filed by a plaintiff. Please note that a complaint represents an accusation by a private individual, not the government. It is not an indication of guilt, and it represents only one side of the story.

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The sexual harassment allegations against Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson http://blog.ebosswatch.com/2015/06/the-sexual-harassment-allegations-against-sacramento-mayor-kevin-johnson/ Thu, 18 Jun 2015 21:39:09 +0000 http://blog.ebosswatch.com/?p=17562 On April 17, 2015 Estrellita Ilee Muller, a former employee in the Sacramento city manager’s office, filed a sexual harassment complaint against Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson.

This is not the first time that Johnson has faced sexual harassment accusations.

During Johnson’s 2008 mayoral campaign, the Sacramento Bee reported that Johnson agreed to pay a $230,000 settlement to a 16-year-old Phoenix girl that he had mentored in the mid-1990s. She girl complained to the police that he fondled her, but Johnson denied her allegations.

According to the LA Times, “A federal inspector general’s report cited other allegations of sexual misconduct. One case alleged that Johnson had inappropriately touched a Sacramento high school senior. Although the girl later denied the story, the federal report detailed similar allegations about advances toward two young women involved in an inner-city program.”

The following are the allegations that Muller made against Mayor Kevin Johnson in her April 17, 2015 complaint:

Initial Incident on or about December 26, 2013: Kevin Johnson, Mayor of Sacramento (“Mr. Johnson”), had inappropriate and unwelcomed physical contact with the claimant in the Mayor’s private library at the City Hall of Sacramento. The incident included, without limitation, that Mr. Johnson’s security officer, Tom Sugawara, told claimant that Mr. Johnson was looking for her. When she went to him, Mr. Johnson asked claimant into his library, then closed the door. He gave claimant an unwelcome and close hug, pressing his body against claimant, then felt her along her torso. He pressed his body against hers and asked her if she “felt it.” He then attempted to kiss claimant. Claimant was forced to push herself away. He asked her to sit on the couch, which she did, felling coerced. He sat in front of her and continued to make advances. Mr. Johnson informed claimant that he had “had a thing” for her for the past four years. Claimant informed him she was married. Mr. Johnson proposed that claimant enter into a sexual relationship with him, asking claimant if she was “game.” When claimant responded in the negative, Mr. Johnson persisted; he requested that claimant not give him an immedicate answer but think about it. He stated that he would swing by her desk in the next few weeks and if the answer was “yes” claimant was to give him a thumbs up and if the answer was “no,” a thumbs down.

The City failed to take appropriate action to protect claimant from this incident or the subsequent incidents of harassment referred to below.

After the December 2013 incident described above, claimant experienced significant anxiety at the prospect of continued interactions with Mr. Johnson. She attempted to avoid all interactions with Mr. Johnson but was not able to. Mr. Johnson commonly visited the office of her supervisor, the City Manager. On these occasions, claimant would try to leave her desk or make a phone call or put her head down. Claimant was extremely anxious and uncomfortable in Mr. Johnson’s presence. On several occasions subsequent to the December incident Mr. Johnson made, or attempted to make, eye contact with claimant and shook his head or smirked.

Claimant complained to several representatives of the City regarding the conduct of Mr. Johnson on several separate occasions. She informed City representatives that she was experiencing a hostile work environment and that she feared she would be the subject of retaliation and further harassment. These City representatives offered no helpful advice and took no action in response to receiving the information. Plaintiff alleges on information and belief that Mr. Johnson had acted inappropriately with respect to other City employees and representatives in the past and that representatives of the City knew, or had reason to know, of facts establishing this. Notwithstanding this, City representatives did nothing to effectively deal with the situation or to protect Plaintiff and similarly situated employees.

The harassment continued. On or about July 8, 2014, Mr. Johnson stated to claimant “Hey lady … you are avoiding me.” On or about August 1, 2014 as claimant was seated at her desk, Mr. Johnson asked to see claimant’s hands. He then took both claimants’ hands in his and pulled them over her desk. He then manipulated her hands so her thumbs would go up and then down and said that he wanted to see if her thumbs woroked saying “some people’s thumbs are funny.” Claimant told Mr. Johnson that her thumbs worked fine but that they would never go up. After each of these incidents, claimant informed her superiors of the interaction.

On September 24, 2014, claimant complained to City Attorney, Jim Sanchez, regarding Mr. Johnson’s conduct. Mr. Sanchez sent her the City’s internal discrimination complaint resolution guide and sexual harassment policy.

On or about October 1, 2014, claimant was required to attend a meeting with Mr. Johnson, during which time he made a point of establishing eye contact with her.

On October 10, 2014, claimant filed a formal discrimination complaint with the City of Sacramento. Upon information and belief, City Human Resources Manager Kenneth Fleming investigated the complaint. Mr. Fleming informed claimant on October 15, 2014 or December 22, 2014 that he had never lost a case in his career with the City and implied that if his investigation resulted in a negative finding claimant would not have a chance of prevailing in her case. He never informed claimant that she was required to file a claim with the City to preserve her right to proceed in this matter. He treated claimant like the aggressor not the victim. Claimant felt attacked. Claimant cried uncontrollably at their December 22, 2014 meeting.

On January 2015, claimant was informed in writing that her complaint was denied as it was determined there was insufficient evidence to establish “probable cause.”

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Former Weslodge pastry chef claims extreme sexual harassment, being groped and spanked by 3 restaurant bosses http://blog.ebosswatch.com/2015/06/former-weslodge-pastry-chef-claims-extreme-sexual-harassment-being-groped-and-spanked-by-3-restaurant-bosses/ Wed, 17 Jun 2015 06:33:14 +0000 http://blog.ebosswatch.com/?p=17555 A female former pastry chef at top Toronto restaurant Weslodge filed a sexual harassment complaint with the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal.

Kate Burnham claims that she was subjected to severe sexual harassment by three male bosses at Weslodge from July 2012 to January 2014.

Burnham alleges that Chef du cuisine Kanida Chey repeatedly harassed her and showed her a picture on his cellphone of his penis.  According to Burnham, Chey licked Burnham’s face, grabbed her breasts and, on a weekly basis, would “reach through her legs to grab her crotch and hold it while humping her from behind, in front of coworkers.” On one occasion, Chey allegedly took Burnham’s hand and “held it over his penis.”

Burnham claims that she asked Weslodge’s day sous chef, Dan Lidbury, for help and that he promised to protect her. Burnham alleges that she was subjected to “harassment and sexual abuse” that was “as bad if not worse.”

According to Burnham’s complaint, Lidbury would sometimes “leer at her body” and lick his lips when she arrived to work at Weslodge. Lidbury allegedly called Burnham names like “angry dyke” and asked her lewd sexual questions.

She claims that Lidbury would “grab her breasts” when she was alone in Weslodge’s walk-in fridge. On one occasion, Lidbury ripped the buttons off her jacket “until it popped open in front of co-workers.”

When Burnham rejected Lidbury’s advances, he allegedly told her that her “attitude” put her on “think fucking ice.”

The complaint alleges that night sous chef Colin Mercer made repeated jokes about Burnham’s sexual orientation and “smacked” her buttocks with a metal spatula “so hard she could not sit down.” Mercer allegedly talked about his girlfriend’s pubic hair and asked Burnham if she was “clean and shaven down there.”

Towards the end of 2013, after having worked at Weslodge for almost 16 months, Burnham claims that she “dreaded coming to work” and would allegedly “break down in tears on a daily basis.” Burnham alleges that the sexually hostile work environment caused her to suffer from anxiety and depression and caused her to lose 50 pounds in less than six months.

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Jury awards $325K to NYPD cop who claims she was fondled by her boss http://blog.ebosswatch.com/2015/06/jury-awards-325k-to-nypd-cop-who-claims-she-was-fondled-by-her-boss/ Wed, 17 Jun 2015 05:48:25 +0000 http://blog.ebosswatch.com/?p=17553 On June 12, 2015 a federal jury awarded $325,000 to Augustina Balu, a NYPD transit cop who claims that she was sexually harassed by her boss and then retaliated against after having rejected his sexual advances.

The jury rejected Balu’s retaliation claim but agreed that she had been subjected to a sexually hostile work environment.

Balu alleges that Lt. Denis McAuliffe forcibly tried to kiss her and fondle her breasts. According to Balu, McAuliffe tried to kiss her in his car after offering to give her a ride from a work party. In sworn testimony, Balu said, “I am pulling away and I tell him that I am going to get sick. He tells me, ‘Not in my car,’ so I open the door, I throw up. He takes out a mint from his car, puts it in my mouth and starts kissing me again.”

Balu claims that McAuliffe made comments about her “granny panties” and suggested that they go shopping for sexy lingerie. According to Balu, “[McAuliffe] would hover around my work station and he would always know what color underwear I had on…and he would just call out a color as he was walking around the chair or as he was walking away from the desk. There was one particular time that he was excited that our color underwear matched and he felt he had to pull his pants down in the office and show me the color of his (light blue) underwear.”

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Tennessee police chief suspended after employee hostile workplace complaints http://blog.ebosswatch.com/2015/06/tennessee-police-chief-suspended-after-employee-hostile-workplace-complaints/ Wed, 17 Jun 2015 05:31:15 +0000 http://blog.ebosswatch.com/?p=17551 Newbern Police Chief Doug Robertson was suspended on June 9, 2015 for two weeks after five hostile work environment complaints were filed against him by police department employees.

Robertson had been placed on a two-week paid suspension once before in April 2015 after two initial hostile workplace complaints were made against the police chief.

In a letter sent to Robertson,  Newbern Mayor Olen Parker told Robertson that they “discussed that the new complaints of workplace harassment are similar to those that have been previously filed against you, and relate primarily to your communication skills and working relationships with subordinate employees under your command.”

Mayor Parker also said, “Unfortunately, the City of Newbern is now faced with a growing number of employee complaints alleging disrespectful and hostile conduct on your part during the course and scope of your employment duties.”

Mayor Parker will conduct a pre-termination hearing with Robertson on June 19, 2015 in order to decide about Robertson’s “continued employment with the City.”

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Michigan city employee resigns after allegedly being harassed by the city manager http://blog.ebosswatch.com/2015/06/michigan-city-employee-resigns-after-allegedly-being-harassed-by-the-city-manager/ Wed, 17 Jun 2015 05:05:58 +0000 http://blog.ebosswatch.com/?p=17548 Bay City Economic Development Manager Patti Stowell resigned on June 8, 2015 after allegedly being subjected to a hostile work environment by City Manager Rick Finn.

Stowell claims that Finn verbally attacked her in a “belligerent, disrespectful and unprofessional manner” during a meeting with representatives from a county economic development agency.

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